Frank Fargo, who offers free showers out of his trailer, is among 2016 KSER Voice of the Community Award winners. He is shown here in 2012 getting a hug from Lois Sugars at Everett’s First Presbyterian Church, where he provides showers during a weekly dinner for people who are homeless. (Sarah Weiser / The Herald)

KSER’s Voices of the Community awards honor county heroes

As a police officer, Bill Corson saw at-risk kids every day. Today, the retired Index man works to give young people alternatives to trouble through a nonprofit he founded. It’s called the Edge Effect.

Corson, 61, is among the recipients of the 2016 KSER Voice of the Community Awards. Everett’s independent public radio station will honor the award winners at a breakfast Tuesday morning at Tulalip Resort Casino. The event is free, but donations will support KSER, 90.7 FM, and KXIR, a sister station simulcasting from Freeland.

“The hard part with kids is getting an adult figure in their life who lets them know, ‘I’m going to stick with you. I’m not giving up on you,’” Corson said. “I can do that.”

Corson is one of four KSER Community Impact by an Individual honorees. The other award winners are:

Curtis Rookaird, a former BNSF Railway employee. According to a May 27 Associated Press article, the Arlington man said he was fired in 2010 after conducting a brake test on 42 train cars despite other workers suggesting the tests weren’t necessary.

Rookaird reported the incident to the Federal Railroad Administration and contacted the federal Department of Labor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that BNSF had violated the law by firing Rookaird. In May, a federal jury awarded Rookaird $1.6 million. His wife, Kelly Rookaird, said Tuesday that the railroad is appealing the ruling in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that her husband will continue the legal fight “all the way to the end.”

John Olson, Everett Community College vice president for college advancement and executive director of the Everett Community College Foundation. Olson said Tuesday that the foundation provides thousands of dollars for scholarships — nearly 200 each year — and supports programs, professional development and other needs at EvCC.

Frank Fargo, a Clearview man who provides showers for homeless people. Fargo takes his trailer, equipped with two 150-gallon water tanks and a water heater, to Everett’s First Presbyterian Church and Lynnwood’s Trinity Lutheran Church. He has provided thousands of free showers for those who come to the churches for weekly meal programs.

The Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts is the winner of KSER’s Cultural Impact by an Organization award. Based in Marysville, the foundation is a nonprofit arts education and theater production group.

Snohomish County Train Watch is the Community Impact by an Organization honoree. Volunteers with the group, focused on environmental and public safety concerns, have tracked the numbers of oil and coal trains traveling through the county.

Tom Clendening, KSER’s general manager, said the station had 46 nominations for the Voice of the Community Awards this year. Nominations may come from listeners, station volunteers or board members. Winners are chosen by a group of past winners, people from the community, board members and a KSER staff person.

Corson, who before retirement was a Redmond police officer, said the Edge Effect has evolved from an after-school mentoring program in the Lake Washington School District into one that also offers outdoor experiences and sports opportunities in the Monroe area. Corson, who previously lived near Lake Roesiger, said his kids attended Monroe schools.

In Redmond in the 1990s, Corson and another officer helped create a graffiti wall where kids turned tagging impulses into sanctioned artwork. At a youth center, he said he met with kids who were “the biggest taggers — they were pretty much rebels.”

When they asked for a legal place to paint, Corson said he helped them work with the city of Redmond. “The kids did it, they got involved in government,” he said. They helped get the site donated, helped with construction, and “made all these rules the first week,” Corson said. “Kids are painting there today.”

Along with mentoring, the Edge Effect is involved in a Latino soccer group. There are also outings to Stevens Pass and other places.

“We get kids outdoors, hiking, biking, climbing,” Corson said. “In the school system, if they get in trouble those kids get left on the side.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

KSER breakfast

The 2016 KSER Voice of the Community Breakfast is scheduled for 7-9 a.m. Tuesday in the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom, 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip. Tickets free (donations accepted). Reservations needed. Sign up at:

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